While Eat Boutique is not necessarily a site where we discuss the politics of food, this subject matters to any one who cares about what they eat, where that food comes from, and the people that produce that food. In that vein, we thought you all might be interested in learning more about a new documentary about the rising movement of Americans who are seeking to re-invent our food system. The film, called FRESH, celebrates the farmers, purveyors and consumers who are taking matters into their own hands. The documentary also serves as a guide to empower people like us to take action in small and simple ways that can make a big difference.
To celebrate the release of the movie in the greater Boston area, a series of events and farm-to-table dinners have been planned. Last week, a group of local food advocates, including Willow Blish from Slow Food Boston, John Lee from Allandale Farm, J.J Gonson from Cuisine en Locale, and Jeff Morin from City Feed and Supply, served on a panel to discuss their roles in the local food movement.
When the evening was opened up for questions, it was clear that the people in the room last night were frustrated. From discussions covering the state of food served in our schools, to the affordability of farmers’ market produce, to food deserts, there is certainly much to cause anger. However, as John Lee, the owner/farmer of Allandale Farm said last night, five years ago, there never would have been a 100+ crowd gathered to listen and discuss the state of local food. Five years ago, it was almost impossible for Lee to sell produce that wasn’t tightly wrapped in cellophane, with all of the leaves chopped off and no sign that it actually came from the ground. Things are changing for the better, and rather than dismissing this recent interest in our food as a trend, we should continue to educate ourselves and those around us about the food that we eat.
While the problem is extremely multi-faceted, the message was clear: vote with your food purchases. Every time we buy food, we are making a significant choice. As they say, money talks. As much as you can, buy food that has been produced by small-scale farms and within your region. Connect with those farmers, know from where your food comes. Your body will thank you and you can enjoy that food even more, knowing that your farmers have been paid a good, fair wage and that your food hasn’t traveled, un-ripened, from thousands of miles away in an 18-wheeler. If you can’t make it to a farmers’ market frequently, start being that squeaky wheel. Ask for fresh, local produce at your local grocery store. The more consumers that ask for locally grown produce, the more likely that something will happen.
What else can YOU do? For starters, you can learn more about the movement by seeing the movie FRESH, but you’ll have to hurry. In the greater Boston area, you can see the film at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square until June 25. While FRESH week’s activities are nearly over, you can visit any of the restaurants that hosted farm-to-table dinners and talks and enjoy quality, local food.
We’d love to open up this discussion to our readers. What simple changes have you made to better connect with the food that you eat? Do you know an un-sung hero in the local food movement that is doing amazing work? Share with us below!
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now supporting entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses in service, food, & retail through Eat Boutique Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.